Monday, January 28, 2008

A Tangy Lemon Meringue Pie

Daring Bakers January 2008 Challenge - Something Tangy

Lemon Meringue Pie (01) by MeetaK

The number 10 in my opinion is quite memorable and a number to celebrate. So, I'm celebrating my 10th Daring Bakers challenge this month. And what an awesome challenge it was.

The lovely Jen of The Canadian Baker was our hostess and her challenge was to make a simply irresistible lemon meringue pie.

After the challenge last month my family and I left to celebrate New Year's with a few friends in Switzerland. We had a ball, and for our New Year's party we made two lemon pies! So, you can imagine my smile when I returned to find I'd be making another one so soon.

Every lemon pie is different. The crust, the intensity of the lemon flavor and the topping are all versatile and depending on how you like it, this pie can be varied slightly. To increase the difficulty level a notch, Jen wanted us to top the pie with meringue.

Meringue is not always my best friend and I try to avoid it whenever and where ever I can. I don't know why, I have never really had a falling out with the meringue, but simply the fact that things could go very wrong with it, intimidates me. Normally when I make the lemon pie, I sprinkle the top with brown sugar and then brulée it under the oven grill. The result is a fantastic caramel crisp top, which cracks beautifully to allow you to discover the softness of the lemon curd.

But I am a Daring baker and I had to get over my intimidation of the meringue. As we did last time, Hilda and I had planned to do this one together again. It was all set, however, Hilda unfortunately caught herself a nasty cold, which put her out for a few days. So, I rolled up my sleeves and decided to tackle this by myself.

On the whole, I found the pie easy to make. The details were very clear and I experienced no catastrophe while making it. Not even during the making of the meringue. Phew!

This months challenge requirements were simple. Jen wanted us to keep the flavor - lemon.

Allowed Modifications:

  1. We could make either the pie or tartelettes
  2. We could complement the pie with a sauce, like a raspberry or a white chocolate sauce.
  3. We could use a piping bag to apply the meringue.
  4. We were free to decorate the pie as we liked. Lemon zest or fruit were totally acceptable.
  5. High altitude modifications were allowed as long as we stayed "true" to the recipe.
  6. Conversion for certain dietary restrictions like gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan etc. was allowed.
  7. Recipe ingredient exception allowed only if allergy or an ingredient not available or cost prohibitive in our region.

Lemon Meringue Pie (06) by MeetaK

I made one larger pie and a few smaller tartelettes. I was not too happy with the crust. The one I normally make is a bit different and more flaky. This was more on the chewy side and it seemed to absorb the moisture from the curd very quickly. The crusts on my previous pies were not like that. The curd itself was great. Lemony, tangy and refreshing, I'll be keeping this recipe for sure. As for the meringue, well it did nothing for me really. Besides look nice, I kind of found it was simply in the way of the better stuff below. Although it did turn out wonderful, fluffy and airy I could not resist picking it off the pie to put it aside so that I could get to the more delicious curd.

So, come celebrate my 10th challenge with a wonderful lemon meringue pie.


Lemon Meringue Pie
(from Wanda's Pie in the Sky by Wanda Beaver)

Lemon Meringue Pie (05) by MeetaK

Ingredients
Printable version of recipe here

For the Crust:
175 g cold butter; cut into 1.2 cm pieces
250 g all-purpose flour
50 g granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
80 ml ice water

For the Filling:
475 ml water
200 g granulated sugar
60 g cornstarch
5 egg yolks, beaten
58 g butter
180 ml fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Meringue
5 egg whites, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
150 g granulated sugar


Method

Lemon Meringue Pie (02) by MeetaK

To Make the Crust:
Make sure all ingredients are as cold as possible. Using a food processor or pastry cutter and a large bowl, combine the butter, flour, sugar and salt. Process or cut until the mixture resembles coarse meal and begins to clump together. Sprinkle with water, let rest 30 seconds and then either process very briefly or cut in with about 15 strokes of the pastry cutter, just until the dough begins to stick together and come away from the sides of the bowl. Turn onto a lightly floured work surface and press together to form a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 20 minutes.

Allow the dough to warm slightly to room temperature if it is too hard to roll. On a lightly floured board (or countertop) roll the disk to a thickness of 1/8 inch (0.3 cm). Cut a circle about 2 inches (5 cm) larger than the pie plate and transfer the pastry into the plate by folding it in half or by rolling it onto the rolling pin. Turn the pastry under, leaving an edge that hangs over the plate about 1/2 inch (1.2 cm). Flute decoratively. Chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 180ºC. Line the crust with foil and fill with metal pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden. Cool completely before filling.

To Make the Filling:
Bring the water to a boil in a large, heavy saucepan. Remove from the heat and let rest 5 minutes. Whisk the sugar and cornstarch together. Add the mixture gradually to the hot water, whisking until completely incorporated. Return to the heat and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until the mixture comes to a boil. The mixture will be very thick. Add about 1 cup (240 mL) of the hot mixture to the beaten egg yolks, whisking until smooth. Whisking vigorously, add the warmed yolks to the pot and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in butter until incorporated. Add the lemon juice, zest and vanilla, stirring until combined. Pour into the prepared crust. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming on the surface, and cool to room temperature.

To Make the Meringue:
Preheat the oven to 190ºC. Using an electric mixer beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar, salt and vanilla extract until soft peaks form. Add the sugar gradually, beating until it forms stiff, glossy peaks. Pile onto the cooled pie, bringing the meringue all the way over to the edge of the crust to seal it completely. You can also use a piping bag to pipe the meringue onto the curd. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden. Cool on a rack. Serve within 6 hours to avoid a soggy crust.


Verdict

Lemon Meringue Pie (04) by MeetaK

I used chopped pistachio nuts to decorate the pie. I loved the contrast of the yellow lemon curd again the green/purple colors of the nuts. Although the crust was not much of a bringer, we loved the way the lemon curd tasted. Soeren liked the fluffy meringue on the pie too. He said they almost tasted like marshmallows. Tom and I were in the opinion that the meringue is a bit of an overkill for the pie.

Would I make this again?
We love our lemon pie. I will most probably use the lemon curd recipe here again, however I prefer the crust recipe I normally use, so I will be combining both the next time I make a lemon pie. As for the meringue - I came and I conquered - but it will be not a regular on my lemon pies.

What did I learn from this challenge?
That a crust can get so soggy so fast!!! The crusts for the tartelettes were ok and did not go from being crust to being mush as fast as the larger pie did. That was a bit disappointing. I learned that there are huge differences when making crusts - even if at first glance the recipes might look similar.

Jen thanks for this one. It was a nice easy paced challenge and one I enjoyed making. If you are looking for more refreshing lemon curd and sticky meringue, I suggest you visit the Daring Bakers Blogroll and browse through the 450+ lemon meringue pies across the blogesphere.

I would really like to recommend you to visit one particular fellow Daring Baker. It's her first challenge and she was a bit nervous making this. Shilpa, thanks for the sneak peak and your lemon meringue pie looks awesome. Well done on your first challenge.

Check out my previous challenges:
April 2007: Chocolate Crepe Cake
May 2007: Gâteau Saint-Honoré
June 2007: Real Honest Jewish Purists Bagels
July 2007: Strawberry Mirror Cake
August 2007: Chocolate Caramel Tart
September 2007: Sticky Cinnamon Buns
October 2007: Bostini Cream Pie
November 2007: Tender Potato Focaccia and Bread Rolls
December 2007: Bûche de Noël/Yule Log



All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2008 Meeta Khurana unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

93 comments :

  1. Oh Meeta yes! How fun that you added pistachio nuts!
    I really found the lemon needed the meringue to smooth everybody together! I still am amazed that we have such different results with the same recipes.
    Your tarts are lovely!!

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  2. Love the addition of pistachio nuts, and I think I'd prefer the little lemon tartlets, too.

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  3. Meeta, love those cute tartlets...we scraped off the meringue as well :-)

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  4. Hey that looks so cute. I should have taken some inputs from you. I would have loved those nuts in the pie. Brulee topping.. thats something I surely want to give a try.

    I can't thank you enough for all your support Meeta. If you don't mind, I will bug you again this month :D.

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  5. I love the addition of crumbled pistachio nuts on top and very little meringue. Very original. Your version with the carmelized top sounds very nice .Beautiful photos as always.

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  6. Meeta - Its was so much to read the post.. and both the large pie and the tartlets look so cute and yummy..:) Thanks for sharing all of ur thoughts with us.. that helps us a lot to take care of certain things when making pies...

    Hugs,
    ~ Siri

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  7. Addition of Pista makes your's unique Meeta, good one. I saw about 4 Pies today.
    10th dish! You are good! I am scared to even to sign up just in case I can't make it on time!:D

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  8. Great variation on your LMP! The nuts look beautiful.

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  9. Meeta, these are beautiful! I do love the pistachio colors with this, it really brings the colors together. The tartlettes look great!

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  10. Great work, and you can't discuss about taste ;-).

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  11. I like your pistachio nut decorations. The tartlets are so cute!

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  12. These look beautiful Meeta! But once you wrote that you usually put sugar on your lemon pies and brulee them, I couldn't stop thinking about how delicious that sounds. I love your pictures too - the pistachios look great!

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  13. The pistachios look great on it! Beautiful pie and yummy tartlets! Can't get enough lemon pie in my opinion!!

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  14. Your pie and tartlets are lovely, as always.
    This was my first challenge so I am quite pleased with the way mine turned out, even though not perfect.

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  15. The pistachios are a great addition. The most unique and elegant lemon meringue pie I've seen!

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  16. oh I like this as it looks so well executed and presented!

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  17. I love the decoration, pistachio are always gorgeous on any dessert !!

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  18. Hey Meeta!
    You know how sorry I am I didn't make this with you this time, BUT like I said it would have taken forever with my weirdo oven. And you know how much I LOVED your presentation with the green and the pistachios and everything. I said if I did it again I would use swiss meringue so that it's stiffer, otherwise it's kind of overkill and I dunno, not my favorite kind of sensation. Onward and upward I say.

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  19. Lovely tarts Meeta, I'm intrigued and in awe more and more with every post of yours :) I'm joining DB next month..

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  20. Great pics! I did not love the crust and meringue too. But the cream was really lecker!

    How was Switzerland? I'm a little bit homesick. ;-)

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  21. Such cute lil tartlets, Meeta! Love the addition of pistachio.. I'd think that crunch with the creamy curd would be delightful! :)

    xoxo

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  22. Lvoe the pistachio addition, nice crunch with all the softness. We liked the meringue, it sort of mingled the flavours nicely.

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  23. Yumm I like the small pies. The fillinf inside it looks so inviting.

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  24. that looks so gorgeous meeta!! obviously, you are a great bake, but I love the effort you take in getting all the props to make your creations look even prettier!!:)

    that ccolorful paper napkin and the lovely pistachios look amazing:) great job girl!!

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  25. Meeta!!! Your pie looks so yum!! I love those greeny pistachios in the middle, an absolute treat!!

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  26. lovely - the addition of pistachios is just beautiful! i do love my meringue, though...

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  27. Beautiful photos of a gorgeous pie and tartelettes. I love the idea of pistachios!

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  28. gorgeous pies and gorgeous pictures meeta - well done!

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  29. Your tarts are lovely! I like the pistachio garnish, the colors are jewel-like against the yellow lemon curd.
    xoxo

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  30. Perfect and stunning, Meeta. You are an artiste. The pistachios are a wonderful touch too. Gorgeous.

    -jen

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  31. Your tartlets look wonderful, and I have to agree on the meringue. I made it because it was part of the challenge, but I'm not a fan. Your idea of caramelizing the top sounds really good!

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  32. Love your styling as always Meeta, the pistachios look great!

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  33. They luk so wonderful. Nut topping! what else does one need !

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  34. Mmm they look delicious.

    If you've got a minute wanderover to Zhoodles and leave me a comment
    http://zhoodles.blogspot.com

    C

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  35. Lemon and Pistachios - What a combination.

    Very cool.

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  36. of all the lemon meringue pies I've seen in the blogging world thus far, for this month's DBC event, I must say that yours is the most innovative and perfectly executed - gorgeous!!

    congratulations on succeeding in your 10th DBC - how fun!!

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  37. I always prefer tartlets. Cute to look at.

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  38. Sorry to hear meringue isn't for you--its funny, I just made meringues (in cookie form) this weekend to use up leftover egg whites.

    The tartlets look wonderful and the pistachios look like a great complimentary addition.

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  39. Delicious-looking tarts. I agree about the crust; when I used my standard crust, the tarts weren't at all soggy.

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  40. More unique than most I've seen today. Great job, Meeta :)

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  41. I am with the others - pistachios were a great idea! The small tarts..I would take one in each hand, and one in my mouth... then run! :)

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  42. As always, Meeta, you've done such a beautiful job! I love the pistachios. And happy 10-month anniversary!

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  43. You pie and tarts look just lovely! I love that your meringue didn't cover the whole pie and the nuts are a beautiful contrast!

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  44. now that's a pretty pie! :) was waiting to see how ur pics wud be!

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  45. Looks wonderful! Its interesting to see all the different pies.

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  46. I adore your use of pistachios in the decoration. I agree with you, it plays perfectly with the yellow of the curd. And congrats on your 10th challenge, I think it might be my 9th challenge because i had to skip one.

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  47. The pistachio colors really do go so well with the lemon and I'll bet they tasted fine, too. Glad meringue is not intimidating...it does taste sort of like marshmallows. Love the curd, too. Beautiful, beautiful photos as usual!!

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  48. I like the pistachio topping! And your pictures look so lovely - as usual! Great job on the challenge!

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  49. Thanks everyone for leaving your feedback! The pistachios were a fantastic addition. they not only added a fine optical feast but tasted great with the lemony curd.

    Shilpa, You are always welcome to "bug" me - whenever you want!

    Hilda, next challenge we need to do together again - I was sooo lonely without you!

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  50. The pistachios are such a great touch!

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  51. Very pretty with the pistachio nuts! Love the idea of lemon pie brulee.

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  52. That is impressive indeed! The little tarts look so good. You rose to the (very daunting) challenge!

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  53. I like your pistachios and different presentation! The larger pie is totally impressive :)

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  54. I love the way you've decorated your tarts! The pistachios look lovely and I'm sure add a wonderful dimension in terms of taste and texture!

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  55. Gorgeous tarts! You've certainly had a lot of lemon tart recently. Love the pistachio sprinkled on the top too. I like the idea of no meringue and to caramelise the top.

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  56. Brulee topping - now that is something I would not have thought of with lemon. Considering the possibilities...

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  57. Meeta, your color combos are GORGEOUS! The green really brings out the yellow in the curd (which I found a bit anemic color-wise when I made it) and the pistachios! I'm swooning. :)

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  58. Your pie looks really good! I love the addition of pistacchio nuts... What a great idea!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  59. Meeta, I love the tartlets. I'm not a big meringue person either, the pistachio topping with just a little meringue is a fabulous idea!

    Congratulations on #10 :)

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  60. wow meeta, I am oggling that pie. Looks delicious!

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  61. Beautiful! I had very good results making a sour cream crust for this pie. It stayed crisp as long as the pies lasted (just about 24 hours)
    I will post it shortly!

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  62. Your tartlets look beautiful and your pie does too, the idea of decorating with pistachios was genius! the contrast as you say is great, and I am glad that you made friends with meringue, I do agree though... I also picked it out of my tartlets when eating them heh, but I think I might have to try broiling the top of my next LMP as you suggest ^_^

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  63. I would never thought of adding pistachios as a topping. It looks so fancy and special. Perfect to celbrate your tenth challenge Meeta.

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  64. Well done on your decade of daring bakers baking. I love the look of it with the pistachios!

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  65. Congrats on your 10th challenge!! Your tarts look so sophisticated!

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  66. Meeta, your work is always so beautiful. You make it look so much fun! I'm not a big meringue fan, either. I did try a new type for this recipe, though, which was AMAZING. I may be converted...

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  67. The pistachios are a brilliant addition! Gorgeous photography as well!

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  68. Those look great! I love the idea of the pistachio nuts and the little tartlets

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  69. How gorgeous! Love the almost marshmallow-like appearance of your piping, and of course the pistachios...

    j

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  70. very different combo of pistas and lemon...gorgeous pics like always...

    I love the contrast of the background and the foreground..shows the effort that goes into the picture as well!

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  71. I am so intrigued by the pistachios. I would never have put those with lemon, but now I want to give it a try. Thanks for the inspiration.

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  72. Great idea, Meeta, to add pistacchio nuts to it. Looks amazing.

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  73. Such a pretty presentation! Love the pistachios, and also the tartlets with only a dot of meringue. Great job!

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  74. I can always count on your DB presentations to be different and with an inviting twist :)

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  75. I really appreciate all your comments on this. It's great to be a part of this group I love all the motivation one gets. Thanks!

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  76. Meeta - Your tarts and pie turned out simply fabulous. Great minds think alike...I used pistachios in my crust to give flavor to the gluten free flours.

    While I like meringue, I prefer just a little bit with my tart or pie rather than a mountain.

    Lovely job on the pictures, too!

    Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

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  77. Hi Meeta,
    I think yours is the most creative LM-pie I've seen so far. Love the use of pistachios, esp for the big pie.

    Nora

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  78. You have just the loveliest pictures. I love the pistachios on the pie too.

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  79. Meeta - I love how you left a vacant centre - and pistachio nuts must have been a great colour contrast, too. Lovely entry! (Says a very lazy and unorganised, and definitely not a daring baker:)

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  80. You really got creative. My grandfather invented a pie in which he sprinkled chopped walnuts on top of the meringue. Pistachios on the lemon meringue is a great idea

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  81. So creative and interesting. It looks fantastic.

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  82. Your pie looks lovely. Love the pistachios.

    I can't believe you found the pie easy to make. You must have made many more pies than I have. I was a bit overwhelmed. ;0)

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  83. I really love how you decorated your pie - it's like a picture! Beautiful!

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  84. oh my! Thank you all for the comments. Look forward to the next challenge too!

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  85. Oh Meeta, I love your pistachio decorations. And the next time I make a lemon pie, I'm going to try your "brulee" approach. It sounds quite tasty!

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  86. Your pies look great. I love the pistachio topping. Adds texture to the pie. You and my dad agree on pie crusts...he likes the more traditional flaky pie.

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Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your stay here and that I was able to make this an experience for your senses.

Hugs
Meeta